Skip to content

Thought Experiments in Vladimir Odoevsky's Russian Nights

Pages 20 - 42


Thought Experiments in Vladimir Odoevsky's “Russian Nights”. In Vladimir Odoevsky's volume Russian Nights (Русские ночи, 1844), there are two short stories that portray the downfall of imaginary civilizations with strong utopian and/or dystopian elements: “The Last Suicide” (Последнее самоубийство) and “A City Without a Name” (Город без имени). Each of the two texts is constituted by a systematic and, on its own terms, plausible narrative based on the unreal assumption that a particular fictional society exists and proceeds along the path of its own history. Both works can therefore be considered to be counterfactual thought experiments. The article analyses the two narratives on the structural and textual level so as to show what epistemic and cultural value these two thought experiments have within and beyond the Russian Nights. The method used for the analysis is interdisciplinary, combining critical tools from the disciplines of literary studies and philosophy.

Konstanz / Vienna


Export Citation